Ted is a Jack Russell Terrier, who lives with his human family, The Knights, at 77, Green Road. Ted considers himself to be a dog of very high empathy, with skills in psychotherapy (for humans), anthropology and sociology (of humans in relation to each other and dogs and on occasion cats), behaviourism and anything else to which an animal with just the right amount of intelligence can apply himself. His philosophy is that human beings have too much intelligence for their own good and he postulates that to be why they make a mess of so many things, causing themselves trauma externally and internally. Unable physically to put his thoughts and feelings down on paper because it is impossible to hold a pen with paws, he employs the services of his human ‘sister’, Emma Knight. Ted understands the vitals of human speech and in addition to the enhanced senses of smell, taste and hearing possessed by dogs; he also has a sixth sense.
Even though most humans make no effort to understand ‘dog speak’, Emma has kind of a psychic connection to Ted. Hence they are able to communicate. Employing Emma as his calligrapher on occasion causes Ted difficulties with ‘creative differences’ as Emma’s own thoughts and feelings creep into the writing process resulting, now and then, in arguments. The other main human in Ted’s life is Jane Knight, his human mother, who suffers from manic depression, and to whom Ted is highly attached. Ted also competes with Jane’s husband, Peter Knight, for head of the household status, and with the cat, Yorky, for human affection. The Journal of Ted Terrier is a sensitive, poignant, witty exploration into the lives of the human, canine and feline inhabitants of a detached suburban house in England, from the point of view of the family dog, writing about his experiences, life and passions as instalments in a journal. Unlike his human family, Ted has all four paws firmly on the ground. He is a naïve witness to the illogicalities of human behaviour, equally perplexed by the funny and the appalling things people do. He explores the distance between his rational perceptions and the irrationality of human views on life and in so doing warns us to mind the gap! The style of the piece mirrors the thinking of its author:- ‘Dogs don’t think in straight lines, instead our thinking goes all round about and can be hard to follow… we also seem to have trouble thinking for too long.’ Hence the journal appears as short disconnected instalments of a variety of lengths, and reflecting the wide variety of moods of the family, which Ted picks up with his highly attuned empathy and documents in his own inimitable, all over the place, style.